Elena Takes Your Questions


Miami forward Elena Baranova will represent the Sol in the WNBA All-Star Game. As she prepares for Monday's showdown, Baranova takes time out to answer a selection of fan questions.

When (what day) are you going to arrive in Orlando and when you do get there, do you have a lot of practice?
New Jersey

Only one practice. I got in today, early morning. I got up at 5 a.m., flew and today we've had one practice only. Tomorrow another practice, a shootaround before the game.

Hi Elena! You've been one of my favorite players ever since you came in the league, in Utah. Do you get any sort of vacation break between European leagues and the WNBA, and back? I do hope you make sure to be good to yourself, so that you don't burn out. Good luck!
Bellevue, Wash.

No. I don't think so because we have the European Championship in September. They start Sept. 14, I believe and finish on the 23rd. So I have only one week before the season and I think I will go straight to National Team camp. I play all year-round and the European season will finish in April or May. This year was a little bit longer, I think, and I didn't finish until May. But I am okay. I'm used to playing a lot of time, for 40 minutes. For me, when I used to relax during the season, after a couple days I start to miss ball. I need to play again. So this is okay for me.

How did you learn to shoot the 3-point shot so well?
Los Angeles

My coach Kim, who's here with me this weekend, was my first coach. I grew up a little slow. When I was 14 years old, I stopped growing and she was thinking, okay so you're going to be probably a forward. So I started as a point guard, then I played forward. Then after I finished school, like when I was 16, I started growing again. I reached my 6-5 and now I have everything, my three-point shot and dribbling. So this is it.

Elena, We are all very proud of you as the first All Star in SOL history. It's incredible that you've returned from knee surgery just a year ago to being an All Star. How does it feel and what was the toughest part of your comeback? Keep you the great work!! Your SOL fan

The toughest part was starting to play again. Because physically I was ready to play again, but mentally I didn't. I was still thinking about the injury. That I could jump and someone could hit me from behind and I could get another injury. So this was the toughest part. I still sometimes crouch under the basket when I jump. But it's going away little by little. I think it's almost all gone, this thinking.

Hi Elena, Congrats on being selected as an All-Star! I'm happy that one of the SOL is on the roster! Are any of your teammates going to attend the all-star weekend events and the game?
Manassas Park, Va.

They are supposed to come probably. I don't know who. Katrina Colleton and someone else wanted to come. And the coaching staff is probably coming in from Miami this evening.

Elena, Congratulations for being named to the All-Star game team. While I am a Fever fan, the Sol (which features some of my favorite players, Brondello and Ruth Riley) is a close second. What is it like to play in the USA? What is the most striking difference between here and Russia?

I think the fundamentals. Because there are visibly different fundamentals from the beginning, from kids. When I came it was really hard for me because here players make different screens, different shots, different ball movements, different sets. I had to learn again and again. And when I come back to Europe, I have to change again because I have to play like all my teammates play. The same way. So this is the hardest part to change from the European style to the American.

How does it feel not only this being your first allstar game but also being the first sol player to play in an allstar game?
Hialeah, Fla.

Awesome. This is my first time. Especially after the injury, I didn't expect this. It was an early morning call and we were playing in Orlando. My coach came early in the morning and said, congratulations, you're playing in the All-Star Game. It was a big surprise for me.


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